Counties 2 Hampshire rugby: Ellingham & Ringwood still on course for title after hammering Alresford
Counties 2 Hampshire
Ellingham & Ringwood 52
Ellingham & Ringwood are still on target to take the Counties 2 Hampshire title – but will have to take maximum points for their last two games to do so.
E&R are third behind New Milton and Bognor, but have games in hand and a superior points difference; 10 points from their last two matches should be enough.
Alresford wanted to put on a robust challenge in their last game of the season but for the visitors they were another obstacle to overcome on their way to the league title.
Ellingham started brightly, and number-eight Brad Thomas stretched over the line to score after some good work from the forwards, with Chris Frost kicking the conversion.
Alresford fought back and from a succession of pick-and-drives from their strong pack, Ellingham lost their discipline and a penalty was awarded to the home team which they duly kicked to reduce the deficit.
Ellingham responded quickly and put pressure on the opposition. Thomas, who caused the home team defence problems every time he got the ball, eventually he raced through to score under the posts, giving Frost an easy two-pointer.
Ellingham continued to apply the pressure, and this time ill discipline from the home team led to a penalty, and full-back and Frost added the additional three points.
Alresford fought back again and their forwards caused the visitors difficulties in the middle of the park which led to another penalty, which was put through the posts.
Ellingham scored their third try before the half-time break with the best move of the game. Their forwards linked up well with their back,s and the centre pairing of Ben Carey and Will Jenkins combined well to allow Jenkins to race to the line for a beautiful try. Once more, the trusty boot of Frost was on target, giving E&R a 24-6 half-time lead.
Brad Thomas was replaced by Fraser Cockeram, making a welcome return after a spell out injured. This meant David Budd moved to number eight.
Ellingham were frustrated at the start of the second half as they tried to secure an important fourth-try bonus point to keep their title hopes alive. It eventually came from Cockeram who darted through to score, converting to reduce the pressure.
Inside-centre Ben Carey then ran from deep and was able to add a fifth. Brad Evans came on for Frost on the left wing and, shortly afterwards, Ellingham's Jenkins added his second try with Tom Venerosso kicking the conversion.
Toby Benevento came on to replace Tom Sampson at prop, but it was to be a short-lived cameo after hitting his head on the ground, Sampson returning to the field of play.
Ellingham's forwards finished the game in style when lock forward James Fisher showed sleight of hand and feet to fool the home side's defence and dive over. Venerosso was again on target with the boot.
Ellingham & Ringwood play Chichester II this weekend, before their last match next weekend against Fordingbridge.